Author Archives: From Poverty to Power

A crunch point for Indian civil society – what are the options?

Second installment on last week’s India visit. Vlog from Lucknow and a debate with Oxfam India’s Vanita Suneja   In the rolling, 16 hour-a-day seminar that is a field trip, one topic kept coming up in my conversations in India last week. Many civil society organizations feel beleaguered. As the Indian economy booms, the foreign aid agencies on which many CSOs have come to depend …

Posted in Aid, Aid & Development | Tagged , , , , , | Comments closed

The income of the world’s poor is going up, but they’re $1 trillion poorer. What’s going…

Oxfam number cruncher Deborah Hardoon tries to get her head round something weird – according to the stats, the poorest half of the people are getting poorer even though their incomes are rising. It has become something of a tradition that in January every year we take a look at the Forbes list of billionaires and the Credit Suisse Global Wealth databook and calculate how …

Posted in Aid & Development, Equity & Access, Social | Tagged , , , | Comments closed

Tikamgarh revisited, what’s happened to the amazing fishing communities I visited in 2006?

Just got back from a great week in India, including my first attempt at a phone vlog (above). One of the drawbacks of being a generalist is that you go somewhere, hear riveting stories of organization, resistance (and sometimes of course, of failure), but then never find out what happened next. But last week I managed to return to one of the places and stories that …

Posted in Aid, Aid & Development, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Civil society must change itself before it can change the world

; Danny Sriskandarajah, Secretary General of the Civicus global civil society network, has some heretical thoughts about CSOs putting their own house in order This week, more than 900 activists from more than 100 countries are meeting in Bogotá, Colombia for International Civil Society Week. We will come together at what feels like a momentous and difficult time for civil society. My colleagues have documented …

Posted in Aid, Aid & Development, General Global Health | Tagged , , , | Comments closed

If governments don’t tackle the causes of conflict and the refugee crisis, will the World…

Ed Cairns Oxfam’s humanitarian policy adviser, sets the scene for next month’s World Humanitarian Summit as we publish our curtain raiser for the event. After years of preparation, and a roller coaster of expectations plunging and soaring, it is almost upon us. One month from tomorrow, dozens of world leaders will gather in Istanbul for the World Humanitarian Summit. The UN has finalised the commitments …

Posted in Aid, Aid & Development, General Global Health, Poverty | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Thought Leadership and NGOs: What is it? How can we get better at it?

Here’s today’s 2 minute vlog summary for the incurably lazy/visual The aid business specializes in baffling, slippery concepts, often adopted as the latest management fuzzwords (like buzzwords, but fuzzy). One recent example in Oxfam was a brainstorm on ‘thought leadership’ – What is it? Does Oxfam do it? Do we want to do more of it?

Posted in Aid, Aid & Development | Tagged , , , , | Comments closed

Michael Jacobs on how civil society and others achieved the Paris Climate Agreement

A brilliant analysis by Michael Jacobs of the success factors behind last year’s Paris Climate Agreement appeared in Juncture, IPPR’s quarterly journal  recently. Jacobs unpacks the role of civil society (broadly defined) and political leadership. Alas, it’s over 4,000 words long, so as a service to my attention deficit colleagues in aid and development, here’s an abbreviated version (about a third the length, but if …

Posted in Aid & Development, Climate Change, Environment | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments closed

What have 3 years of campaigning on Big Food achieved? What still needs to happen?

Erinch Sahan, acting head of Oxfam’s private sector team, looks back on 3 years of trying to get the world’s food giants to clean up their act, the subject of a new Behind the Brands report. The captains of the food industry have come a long way over the last few years. The “Big 10”, the world’s 10 largest food and beverage companies, have moved from …

Posted in Aid, Aid & Development, Malnutrition & Obesity, Noncommunicable Disease, Nutrition & Food Security, Policy & Systems | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Book Review: Branko Milanovic’s brilliant take on Global Inequality

Some of my favourite development economists are nomads, people with feet in different regions, which seems to make them better able to identify interesting patterns and similarities/differences between countries. Ha-Joon Chang (Korea/UK), Dani Rodrik (Turkey/US) and now Branko Milanovic (Serbia/US), whose latest book Global Inequality: A New Approach for the Age of Globalization is a brilliant and thought-provoking essay stuffed with enough graphs to satisfy …

Posted in Aid, Aid & Development, Policy & Systems, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Why should large aid organizations spin off more start-ups? What kind?

Here’s vlog number 3 – they’re turning into kind of lazy exec sums for blog posts. And a chance to study my kitchen…. I’ve been thinking about the idea of Oxfam and other large aid players deliberately ‘spinning off’ start-ups as independent organizations. The idea came up when I was writing ‘Fit for the Future’ last year, on the way INGOs need to adapt to …

Posted in Aid & Development | Tagged , , , , | Comments closed

Women and Power: final report of excellent research project + top recommendations for aid…

ODI have just wrapped up an excellent two year project on ‘Women and power: overcoming barriers to leadership and influence’ with a final synthesis report that is well worth reading. It’s an intelligent discussion, informed by the thinking in the ‘Doing Development Differently’ network (which is in need of a stronger gender focus). It combines some ‘well duh’ obvious stuff (‘elite women are most able …

Posted in Aid, Aid & Development, Gender, Social, Women & Children | Tagged , , , , , | Comments closed

Payment by Results take 2: what I learned from the response to last month’s rant

A couple of weeks ago I posted a fairly polemical piece about the hype around ‘payment by results’, which prompted quite a response, including a piece by CGD’s Nancy Birdsall, and an excellent set of comments from a bunch of people who are much more on top of the issue than I am (not difficult, I know). Nancy argued that the problem with PbR is …

Posted in Aid & Development, Policy & Systems, WASH | Tagged , , , , , | Comments closed

Blogging’s getting a bit old – what’s next? Plus, my first pitiful attempt at a vlog.

It’s quiet in the blogosphere. Too quiet. (In Westerns, saying that invariably means you’re about to get an arrow in the head). I’ve been blogging on FP2P for 8 years now and for the last few of them, have been wondering what comes next. There are few new entrants to the blog world, and some of the original development bloggers have fallen by the wayside …

Posted in Aid & Development, Technology | Tagged , , , , , | Comments closed

How do we make sure the Panama Papers lead to lasting reforms on tax evasion?

Scandals like the Panama Papers are a massive potential driver of policy change. In normal times, the sources of inertia are great and politicians wishing to make change happen face an array of vested interests and fixed ideas telling them what they want is either insane or impossible. It takes a scandal to shake things up, delegitimize the status quo, and persuade decision makers that …

Posted in Aid, Aid & Development, Corruption | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments closed